The Expressive Introvert: Exclusive Behind-The-Scenes Interviews with Women Who Work, Live, & Love On Their Own Terms is an occasional interview feature here to help cultivate that bit of authentic self-expression within you we all want a little more of.
I actually first saw Brenda in the Member’s Haven for Sheep Dressed Like Wolves, a haven for HSP’s and introverts by my online friend, Andy Mort, who I also interviewed for this series here. We are both members.
I saw that she was a voice that mattered to several people, and I love her use of minimalism (much like me), in both her communications, online presence and her work. I’m a huge fan of minimalism, so I admire someone who can keep their message and communications tight and focused. YES.
I also love that she’s having a more focused conversation on something specific to introversion (much like me). I wish to see WAY more of that.
In asking her to be a part of this conversation and interview series, I didn’t know I would really connect with her answers so much. While I haven’t been married, I was in a long-term relationship that ended for many of the same reasons she cites below. LOTS of growth has happened on my end now. I think I could easily be in a relationship with an extrovert, now that I understand what my needs are on such a different level.
Personally, I want to thank Brenda for the authentic genuine sharing in her interview below. I really value someone who will be transparent and say things others might back away from – authentic assertive living the way I teach it.
That said, I hope you enjoy meeting Brenda!
Brenda is the creator of Space2Live, a website about relationships and intimacy for introverts and sensitive beings.
Through space2live, Brenda shares her experiences as an introvert, mother and divorced single woman.
Currently, she is working on a book to complement the site. Her work is being translated into Chinese and will be published in China within the year.
She is a qualified family mediator and certified Myers Briggs practitioner. She is a sensual suburbanite with three children living outside of Minneapolis, MN. One of her deepest desires is to champion introverts and sensitive people, let them know they are not alone and that they add value to the world.
Connect with Brenda:
When did you know for sure, without a doubt, you were an introvert and what does that really mean to YOU?
I think I was about 39 before I read The Introvert Advantage and started receiving a newsletter for introverts! I was always sensitive as a child but not really shy. I have always had lots of friends. Like many people, I thought you had to be shy to be an introvert. Once I realized it had to do with where we get our energy, the light dawned. I spent a few years completely drained by family and suburban life. I thought there was something wrong with me for not enjoying and thriving in my admirable environment. [Tamisha’s Note: Brenda, I can identify with SO much of this – I used to confuse introversion w/ shyness because I can be (surprisingly) shy in some situations. Also, I think that it’s so awesome when an introvert ‘discovers themself’ for the first time with all their quirks. While “expertise” is usually painted by having years and years of experience, I disagree and feel that, once an introvert has this revelation, they are so quickly able to connect who they’ve been for years with new knowledge that expertise on the topic is almost instant. Glad you brought this up!]
Usually, every introvert (and extrovert alike) has qualities of both introversion and extroversion. What is one of your favorite extroverted qualities about yourself?
When in my element (talking about people/relationships/intimacy/possibilities) I can be very encouraging, enthusiastic and expressive. I enjoy creating enduring and meaningful relationships.
Do you have a favorite celebrity who is also an introvert? Why is he/she your favorite?
Hmmm. J.K. Rowling and Emma Watson. [Tamisha’s Note: Both are in our Introvert A-List!] Interesting that they both are famous for the same creative endeavor – Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling I admire, of course, for her writing skills and class. Emma is so elegant. I love how she is so open about her introversion. She gives the younger generation a cool role model to point to when describing an introvert.
How has being introverted affected your relationships over time? (Friendships, romantic relationships, etc.)
I am extremely selective about whom I allow in my inner circle. I don’t have the energy to be social friends with oodles of people. My nearest and dearest people have been in my life for years. I am always open to meeting new people but I am careful to limit the number of aggressive and ‘large personality’ people I let in.
My marriage deteriorated because I felt I needed to go against my nature too much. It was exhausting constantly “extroverting” and having to defend my way of being.
I understand and protect my children’s need for downtime. I sometimes wish I had more energy to socialize with other parents. It would enhance my kids’ social lives I think but I also feel I do a good amount of interacting. For the most part, my kids are as social as they want to be. [Tamisha’s Note: Love that you’ve found and cultivate this balance for you and your kids, Brenda].
I am honest and open about my needs for space and quiet with my romantic relationships now. Most men I date understand or at least respect my request. If they don’t, we aren’t together long.
What wisdom would you give to your younger self – either pre-introvert knowledge or before you really grew into what it meant for you?
Absolutely be yourself in relationships. Do not try to meet others’ expectations. The only way to attract others who like the real you is to be authentic from the beginning. [Tamisha’s Note: Amen! I SO wish I had known this oh….the first 30 years of my life!]
Introversion is not inferior to extroversion. It’s just different.
You are valuable.
What is your favorite (or most-used) form of self-expression?
I do love to talk one on one with others. Close, intimate conversations energize me, but I express myself best through writing. My ideas crystallize through writing. [Tamisha’s Note: Mine too. And also, talking them out loud to myself. Sounds weird. Works well. lol]!
Can you share a situation or time where you would have done something differently, based on your current knowledge of introversion and yourself (in a job, your life in general, or a relationship)?
Oh geez. There are so many instances. I would have chosen a smaller college. I attended Michigan State University. 50,000+ students. I had to be very assertive to be heard.
I married someone the exact opposite of my temperament which gave me a partner who complemented me skill-wise but we had a hard time understanding each other. We didn’t have a close, emotionally intimate relationship. It didn’t work out.
This is a hard one to admit, but if I am being completely honest, I don’t think I would have had 3 children if I had known about and understood my introversion. I love my kids so deeply.I often feel spread thin.
What last bit of advice would you give to an introverted woman listening/reading this right now who might be struggling in some area of her business or job, life, or relationship because of either her introversion or her need for validation in her individuality?
There is nothing wrong with you. You have introverted gifts such as the ability to concentrate deeply, the ability to create long lasting relationships and amazing self-awareness that can spark empathy and encouragement for others. Leverage your observation and advisor skills.
Be you! You will attract others who understand. They will be your tribe and you will thrive. [Tamisha’s Note: I can attest to this – YES]!
Now Brenda and I would love to know…
What’s your #1 biggest struggle in your introverted relationships, be it a friendship or romantic partnership?
As always, thank you for reading and we’ll be below to answer any of your questions or converse with you about anything that resonated with you in the interview.